We discovered that our compost heap snakes are back again this year. This is the second one we have spotted. Yesterday a much bigger version of this was sleeping under our metal wheelbarrow, and gave me a bit of a fright. For those in the not-know….this is a grass snake. Adders are much more diamond-y.
There is definitely someone who presumably hopes it doesn’t flood any time soon. Our resident moorhen has constructed a lovely nest on top of a load of stuff that’s kind of caught up with itself in the river. It’s got 9 lovely speckled eggs in it. Last year she had 4 or 5 very cute fluffy black chicks so hopefully she’ll do well again this year!
I know… its really cute, but it was dead when we found it. I am the sort of person who hates wasting things, especially life.
So, if you were reading this blog a few years ago you might remember this. When Becs and I found a Muntjac deer on the side of the road in Leicestershire, and took it home and butchered it for the freezer. Well, what do you know, if it didn’t happen again in Suffolk! This time though it was a Chinese Water deer. These are really interesting little deer, they escaped from Woburn safari part in the 1930s and now live wild in that part of the country.
So here is how the story goes; we were driving back from a day at the seaside when we noticed a large light coloured item of road kill, Becky decided to double back, and I jumped out and wrapped it quickly in the blanket and put it in the back of the car. When we reached a safe place to stop, I unwrapped it and checked it out. It was dead, but very recently, with no signs of rigor mortise. I hadn’t really looked at its face at this point and had just assumed it was a Muntjac due to its size, but when I turned its head round, I saw that it was something else. The really sad thing is that these beautiful deer have faces like little teddy bears, so we felt like big meanies, even though we didn’t hit it. Thankfully this wasn’t a full grown male, because they look like this ,had I turned its head round and saw that, I think I might have thought that we had picked up some kind of vampire wallaby or similar.
Anyway, skip to a day later, and I have spent the last four hours butchering it into usable portions of venison. It has weighed out about 4.5 kgs of prime cuts and mince, and then another 1kg of meat and bones for slow cooking. Even by conservative estimates this amount of venison is worth about £50 – 70. This time of year is very bad for deers, as they are so obsessed with mating that they keep running into cars. The moral of this story is keep your eyes pealed, don’t be squeamish and learn to butcher. We will report more once we have cooked some.
Pictures of the ash tree post surgery. We are really pleased with what the tree surgeons have done and hope this bit of work will prolong the life of the tree over all. The owls don’t seem bothered and were back within a day or two of the work being done.
Excellent news, the grass snakes that live in our compost heaps are back! We have no idea if they lived there all winter or not (2 of the 4 have been completely left all winter) but there they were in a pile basking in the sun today on top of a heap. 3 of them in all. And even better, our 8yr old niece and 6yr old nephew were here to see them. I think they were impressed 🙂
A few nights ago a man with a very large camera knocked on our door. He turned out to be a friend of Paul’s who pops by periodically to keep an eye on the little owls on our plot. Adey stayed for a few hours and got a feel for the patterns of our little featured friends, but popped back at the weekend when the light was better. He took these fantastic shots of our Soays as well. I love the fact that these pictures show off such a lot of details on our beautiful boys.
He also got this great owl shot which really shows what striking little beasts these owls are.
Thanks Adey for the shots! It’s so great to be able to host these fab birds and fantastic photographers.
Just to note we’re starting to see hare in the fields over the back again not the days a getting a little longer. The kestrel is becoming a very regular visitor, but doesn’t seem to be putting the owls off which is good.
In other news, the plot is looking shabby now. We’ve moved the birds down a little as we figure even a weeks rest for the top of the plot would be helpful. The forecast has been pretty accurate this week thankfully and it hasn’t rained (much) for at least 6 days. Snow is forecast for the weekend though so it may be shortlived.